My Take

Online attacks come with the territory

  • Chief Executive Carrie Lam says she and megastar Andy Lau are victims of cyberbullying over their support for reclamation
  • But in this day and age, anyone with a public profile can expect vicious attacks
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 October, 2018, 8:50pm
UPDATED : Monday, 22 October, 2018, 6:03am

Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor is starting to sound like Donald Trump. The United States president has a habit of tweeting rude and un-presidential remarks about his critics.

Our own chief executive has lately taken to countering critics and criticisms, however petty and insignificant. Protest banners such as those at a recent rally against the proposed Lantau reclamation inevitably included some rude messages and caricatures. No doubt they weren’t “fair”, but should anyone be surprised that the city’s leader was a target?

Lam, however, deigned to respond to a few of them. Subsequently, speaking at an education forum at the University of Hong Kong, she warned young people about the danger of cyberbullying in social media and then claimed that she and Hong Kong megastar Andy Lau Tak-wah were also victims of online bullying.

“Recently, actor Andy Lau and I have become the target of bullies online, because we just so happened to share the same opinion on reclamation,” she said.

Carrie Lam: Andy Lau and I are victims of cyberbullying

Oh, please, Carrie! Lau may be expressing an opinion but you are stating a government policy, arguably one that is the most expensive in the city’s history.

I can appreciate, though, why establishment figures have been falling over themselves to defend Lau’s honour. The actor-singer drew the ire of the yellow-ribbon and anti-government opposition for recording an infotainment clip for Our Hong Kong Foundation, a think tank founded by former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa, to promote the Lantau project.

The honchos at the foundation, which includes many of the most powerful tycoons or their offspring as associates, no doubt felt sorry and embarrassed for getting our most beloved superstar into trouble. Whether or not he had studied and understood the HK$500 billion to HK$1 trillion Lantau proposal, Lau was clearly doing some powerful people a big favour.

However, Lam is the champion of the whole Lantau project. After all, she just made it the centrepiece of her latest annual policy address. If you are against the project, who would you be going after if not Lam herself?

In any case, going beyond the Lantau reclamation controversy, when you are in Lam’s position, you are subject to attacks constantly, whether fair or not. It comes with the territory.

In this day and age, anyone with a public profile can be subject to vicious attacks, online or not. You can either act like Trump or behave like a dignified adult.